The Down Low on the High Rockies

How construction of a multimillion dollar trail for mountain bikers through some of the most spectacular scenery in North America has stayed relatively hush hush for years is mindboggling.

Once complete the High Rockies Trail will snake its way more than 70km from the Goat Creek trailhead near Canmore to Elk Pass at the Alberta-British Columbia border, passing through Bow Valley, Spray, and Peter Lougheed Provincial Parks along its route. As part of the Trans-Canada Trail, the High Rockies is being constructed as a smooth flowing ribbon of trail offering a spectacular Rocky Mountain experience to nearly any level of rider.

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We recently took the opportunity to tour a short section of the trail that is nearing completion. Although circumstances had us equipped with downhill mountain bikes not ideally suited for the terrain, there was no escaping how outstanding the trail is. The High Rockies Trail is simply magnificent. Although it is frequently near Highway 742 the trail has a decidedly backcountry and sometimes even high alpine feel, but should you need to get back to the road for any reason it’s never far away. Numerous spurs allow riders to take on bite sized portions of the trail without the commitment required to take on any significant length. The High Rockies trail masterfully weaves its way to stunning views and descends to serene forests and across picturesque creeks. The biggest challenge may be slowing down and pausing to take it all in.

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Construction of the bridge over Goat Creek is nearing completion and smaller bridges near Goat Pond are also in progress. Work is also ongoing near West Wind Pass and while some sections of trail are looking incredible and ready for traffic construction and equipment are still working at numerous locations.

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Ultimately there are hopes that a shuttle service will provide even easier access to the various trailheads along the route. The trail is expected to be finished before Canada’s 150th celebration in 2017. One of the most iconic features will be the rope ferry across Black Shale Creek once it is completed. We can’t wait!

Copyright © Town of Canmore 2014